Critics weigh in - Movies - The Boston Globe

February 15, 2015 11:03 AM

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Critics weigh in - Movies - The Boston Globe

After the pomp and pageantry of the 2014 Oscar ceremonies, this year’s Academy Awards (airing Feb. 22 on ABC) seem downright eccentric. Three offbeat entries dominate the major categories: Richard Linklater’s expansive “Boyhood,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s acerbic “Birdman,” and Wes Anderson’s melancholy candy box, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Two more prototypical examples of Oscar fare, “The Theory of Everything” and “The Imitation Game,” may get skunked, as may the cathartic “American Sniper,” a career peak for Clint Eastwood and a hit with people who actually pay to see movies. (The equally deserving “Selma” already got snubbed in the nominations.) And let’s not forget “Whiplash,” the second film from an unknown kid that serves as a refresher course in what makes movies great: strong stories well told. What does it all mean? The same thing it does every year: The movie that wins is the one that makes Hollywood feel best about itself.

After the critics’ awards and Golden Globes and craft prizes and BAFTAs, the big race comes down to a staring match between “Boyhood” and “Birdman,” strikingly atypical Oscar nominees both. Could Academy voters split the vote and end up going for the old-school comforts of “The Theory of Everything”...

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